Some thoughts on trading up/down at the draft

jeff gorton

One of the major stories heading into the draft, other than who will be selected and who the Rangers will be trading, is whether the Rangers will make all their current selections in the draft. The Blueshirts have 10 picks in the draft, with 7 of them coming in the first three rounds. The only round in which they don’t make a selection is the 7th round (Ottawa in the Zibanejad trade).

With so many picks, and specifically two picks close together at the end of the first round, there is speculation the Rangers might try to package those picks to move up. It’s a popular theory. As is perhaps trading one of those picks to move back and grab more picks in the later rounds. It is, after all, a fairly deep draft.

I’m on the fence about moving picks to trade up unless there is someone falling, like Adam Boqvist might. Joe Veleno is someone I’d move up for as well. I don’t see the Rangers being able to part with enough to move into the top five, though. This is more about moving into the late teens/early twenties to grab a slipper.

As for moving back, once you get past the first round the picks are basically crap shoots. I’m all for acquiring as many lottery balls as possible and drafting high ceiling players. At that point, the reaction for whomever the Rangers pick is solely based on opinion and not necessarily on any fact that these players will make it to the NHL. More picks means better odds of landing someone.

This seems like a lot of words to come to a simple point: Trading back is generally a good strategy in the later rounds. There’s a lot of luck involved in hitting on the late picks, so having more picks is never a bad idea.

As for trading up, if there is someone worth trading up for in the first round, then by all means package some of those picks to grab a falling potential star. Other than that, I’d be happy staying put.

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53 thoughts on “Some thoughts on trading up/down at the draft

  • May 31, 2018 at 10:55 am

    Agreed – Draft is a crap shoot. If someone is falling thru the cracks, then maybe you make a move up a few slots to make a pick. Other than that, grab as many picks in the first 3 rounds as possible. To me it is like planting grass seed. Maybe one out of every 5 seeds roots and produces.

    • May 31, 2018 at 2:53 pm

      If the draft is a crap shoot, ur doin it rong.

      When (sorry to go back to them) the Devils won their 2nd cup, they had 50 drafted & developed players in the NHL. They had guys from rounds that no longer exist play 15+ years in the league. They have over a dozen players from that era coaching at high levels.

      They had a wide net of scouts at the US high school level due to Lou’s background coupled with Conte’s skills and advanced Russia scouts.

      Then they turned them into players via Marshall Johnston.

      They have a lot of great alumni working in player development, but I want scrubs who had no reason to be in the NHL working with those kids; talent guided by scrubs who got their by hard graft.

    • May 31, 2018 at 6:09 pm

      Someone is in talks with Bergevin about trading that #3 pick. He is saying to the media that he’s “most likely not trading that selection.” That sounds like a scare tactic to me. He’s not getting offered what he’s asking for it (probably a Montreal HR) but I think it can be had. He’s a maroon anyway and can be had. I think Sather knows how to play him like an instrument.

  • May 31, 2018 at 12:01 pm

    When Adam Boqvist is available at 9, the Rangers should trade down. Why?

    1: the inability to play D against his own age cohort at any level. Can’t box out, can’t lift sticks, doesn’t play well positionally and not as good a backwards skater as he is going forward. This was in J20.

    2: the concussion/injury history. Two this year alone. Wonder what they’ll see in his knees during combine physicals.

    3: his thin frame. If he can’t do #1, how can he compete against men?

    4: the odd nature of his production. Considering he played almost every other shift in an inferior league to the CHL, what D scores more goals than assists?

    5: his inability to bring the puck out of his own end. Any forecheck and he becomes skittish w/ puck, wants his D partner to get it out.

    I don’t give a hoot what the consensus is(which has been trending down, anyways) that this guy is as high a risk/reward as Merkley, except I’m not as sure about his 75’ game translating.

    Besides, he’s not BPA, not even a positional need.

    • May 31, 2018 at 12:34 pm

      Oh yeah, the other reason: Some GM will be creaming their pants over that 75’ game that the team can turn it into a swap & next year’s(or 2020) number 1 and next year is a draft to load up on.

      Meanwhile, as long as the Rangers only drop back 4-5 slots, still getting a player they like.

      • May 31, 2018 at 9:15 pm

        Creaming in their pants…..OMG Gross

    • May 31, 2018 at 12:58 pm

      If the Rangers can land Boqvist by trading up from #9 to #7 say, I’m guessing it costs JG his job in a couple of years.

      • May 31, 2018 at 1:23 pm

        Between Gilmour, Gilroy & ADA; Boqvist is easily in the player profile of a guy they want.

        But not that high, even if he didn’t have the concussion history. Waaaaay too much risk for a player type you can get 90% of as a UDFA. The Rangers have gotten plenty of scoring off D shooting from their off hand the last few seasons.

        If a D isn’t going to be 1st pair, why draft them in the top 20?

    • May 31, 2018 at 4:57 pm

      Reason #2 scares me the most about the him,I’m hoping we stand pat at #9 & he doesn’t fall to us,if he does it might mean Dobson & Bouchard were selected ahead of him.

  • May 31, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    One point that has been ignored here is the effect of the 50 man roster. In recent history, the Rangers have been prospect-poor. They have had lots of space to sign young free agents like Stromwall and Gilmour and Pionk and Hayes and Vesey (they are also appealing to such guys as there is less competition) and lower round draft choices like Crawley. Of course, they will always find room for a Hayes or Vesey, but they are going to have to be more selective with their ELCs in general.

    I am not sure what all this means. Do you want more draft choices or fewer? Maybe you would rather have two #7’s than one #5 on the grounds that you aren’t planning to sign any of them unless they grow in the next few years and two lottery tickets are better than one. And maybe a few high end prospects are better than a larger number of mid-level guys.

    JFTR, the Rangers already have 35 contracts for next year, none of which will likely slide and there are 6-7 restricted free agents they are likely to keep, more if they want to keep guys like Nieves. Add a few UFAs and there is very little room for signing this year’s draft choices – at least in the short run.

    And a deal like trading Zuccarello for three prospects compounds the problem.

    My point is that the Rangers of recent history traded high picks and always had roster room for all the prospects they could get their hands on. The new Rangers don’t have that luxury. They will have to make some decisions passing or releasing guys who might just make it because they think they have better options.

    • May 31, 2018 at 1:27 pm

      What are you talking about? Unless the get 8 of the top 6 picks in this year’s draft(and keep them up) they’ll have more than a few spots on the 50 man roster open.

      Remember: players in junior or outside NA don’t count for the 50 even if under contract.

      • May 31, 2018 at 1:40 pm

        Always a way to make a spot for a quality prospect. The time may be coming for guys like Boo Nieves to either show they are needed at the NHL level, or move them in order to create an open spot. Guys like Boo need to show more to stick around.

        • May 31, 2018 at 2:02 pm

          Even if qualifying all the RFAs in Hartford, they’d still have only 43 contracts. They could have 3 1st rd picks for the next 3 seasons before they’d have to start have to clear out players on the 50.

          You qualify Boo, Tambo & Fogarty just because Hartford is still short of players. On top of that, Quinn will want a look at everybody going into camp.

          • May 31, 2018 at 2:40 pm

            First of all, I did not say this was a crisis – only that it was something to keep in mind.

            Now, I am fairly certain you are wrong about European players not counting. And as for the present 35, only Andersson and Chityl can slide and presumably won’t.

            As for the RFAs, there are twelve of them. If you actually qualify all twelve, you are at 47. Personally, I qualify Hayes, Vesey, Skjei, Namestnikov,
            Spooner, Gilmour; I think about O’Gara, Nieves, Bigras (acquired for Graves); I let Tambellini, Fogarty, Mazanec walk. That puts them in the 41-44 range.

            Then there are the UFAs. Do you resign Pavelec or get a new reserve goalie? Do you go for Kovy or Tavares? What about Sproul and Carey? We don’t know how long this list will be, but there is going to be a list.

            As for this year’s draft, yes the guys who aren’t signed immediately and the guys sent back to juniors don’t count, but there may be some you want immediately. And this is something to consider.

            And, while not relevant to the draft, trading Zuccarello (or anyone for that matter) like the Rangers dealt McDonagh in a deal that adds bodies to the roster further complicates.

            Again, all of this can be managed. It is just that the landscape has changed in a way that most of us are unaware. A year ago, the Rangers may have resigned Bigras to get a longer look; now they likely won’t.

            • May 31, 2018 at 3:00 pm

              Yeah, no.

              That number will be 45/50(and that’s generous)

              My prior comments still stand.

              • May 31, 2018 at 6:24 pm

                I don’t realize understand what is going on here. I am sort of saying that the sun rises in the east and you are arguing with me.

                Incidentally, 35+12=47.

              • May 31, 2018 at 8:38 pm

                Still a good problem to have. Competition on the farm creates depth for the parent club. Gorton will worry about that when the time comes. He also has years before he has to sign the young kids he drafts at 2018 Draft.

              • May 31, 2018 at 11:59 pm


                By all means, keep digging.

                I you hope understand well, point belabored.

            • May 31, 2018 at 5:54 pm

              The only person that even mentioned the word crisis was you.

              • May 31, 2018 at 7:09 pm

                Look, my original comment was a simple note that the adjustment from a prospect-poor organization to a prospect-rich organization would likely require some adjustment in managing the 50 man roster. You and some others reacted as if I was totally crazy. Obviously you are making much more of my word of caution than I ever intended.

                All I am saying is that management will proceed slightly differently than they have in the past. A year ago, Nieves would have been a lock for another year. Now he may be non-tendered or traded for a draft choice. Might still be kept, but no guarantees. They sign fewer UDFA like Pionk and Leedahl, fewer low draft choices like Crawley and Fontaine.

                No doubt they will still sign some lemons and pass on some good players, but they will think differently.

                There is an interesting philosophical question here. If you have more solid prospects and say you can only take two low draft choices or UDFAs, do you go for high ceiling or high floor? Do you risk a Leedahl to get a Pionk or do you go for somebody safer?

    • May 31, 2018 at 2:12 pm

      There is a ton of players that are on the Wolfpacks roster that are not accounted for on the capgeeks website. I pretty sure there is room for as many prospects as we can get.

      I am sure we have enough room and dead weight in the system to sign as many talented draft picks as we want.

      • May 31, 2018 at 3:22 pm

        Players on HFD not on capgeek website not on Rangers 50 man or reserve list.

        If I ran a team and had 27 roster spots, I’d have:

        3G(youngest starting in ECHL, 2nd youngest getting majority reps in A, most ready playing backup in A.)

        9D: 3 AAAA D (with one as a spare) in A, 4 prospects in the A (where I am rolling regardless of game state) and 2 in the ECHL )where they just need minutes to develop.) Callups depend on situation.

        12F: 4 of Top 6, bottom 6 are youngest in pipeline, last 2 are in ECHL w/ a quality UDFA on a 1 ye deal.

        Your other spots are held free for trades.

      • May 31, 2018 at 3:36 pm

        Not every Wolfpack player is Rangers property, that’s why you don’t see them listed on Capgeek.

        The AHL teams are allowed to sign their own players to AHL contracts. This is what happened with Vegas winger Jonathan Marchessault when he was playing for Hartford about 5 years ago. Marchessault was signed to Hartford in 2011-12 to help Rangers draft pick, and Jonathan’s QMJHL teammate, Ryan Bourque develop. Marchessault opened some eyes, Columbus offered him a 2 way contract, and after a stop in TB he finally got to Florida and broke into the NHL for good 4 years later.

        • May 31, 2018 at 6:36 pm

          It is important to note that the Rangers have no control at all over Wolfpack players. After his year in Hartford, Marchessault was a free agent. I believe that Rangers actually did want to sign him at that point, but he saw Columbus as a better opportunity.

          His full reasoning is not known to me, but my theory is that he and Mats Zuccarello were similar in that they are both small forwards. Tortorella was not ready to embrace Zuc at that time and Marchessault figured the same fate would befall him.

    • May 31, 2018 at 2:23 pm

      More selective? Like how they didn’t offer Morrison & Iverson(both of whom LA signed?)

      • May 31, 2018 at 2:56 pm

        Yes, more selective. These examples mean nothing. You develop an evaluation criteria – let’s say it is 0-100. In the old days, you signed anyone you can with an 82 score and now you only sign guys with an 85.

        Obviously Brad Morrison didn’t rate an 82 in their judgment. That doesn’t mean their judgment was correct. It doesn’t mean you can’t find a player they assign 86 to who is less desirable in your opinion.

        But I’ll bet that at least one of Stromwall, Gilmour, Pionk, Crawley would not get signed today with no change in the evaluation system.

        • May 31, 2018 at 3:04 pm

          When you are that short of 50, you take fliers on players(like the Rangers did with the players you mentioned) yet still didn’t offer multiple players drafted beyond who I mentioned.

          1st rule: when in a hole, stop digging

      • May 31, 2018 at 5:47 pm

        I hope we didn’t make a mistake not signing Morrison,he led the WHL in playoff scoring with 37 points in 16 games this year,I think Iverson will be a bust,ended the year in the ECHL.

        • May 31, 2018 at 6:12 pm

          Morrison did that as an overager, he’s still underweight for his height. He’s better off getting a gig in Europe.

          I mentioned Iverson as he put up better point his last season in the Dub than a guy the Rangers signed as a UDFA in Leedahl.

          • May 31, 2018 at 6:22 pm

            Yeah Leedahl 8 points in 38 AHL games at 22yrs old doesn’t look very promising & we have him under contract for 2 more years.

  • May 31, 2018 at 2:00 pm

    I have no issue with either trading up or trading down in the draft as long as there is a clear cut goal. My favorite go to is the Dallas cowboys and jerry jones and even he realized after long struggles you must draft the o-line and d-line first because it was there biggest weakness but is essential to winning. Then all of a sudden they became the running cowboys again and romo had time to throw instead of running and gunning.

    Rangers need a plan. I really don’t know what their plan is but if it is to take the highest talent available at the given draft slot whether that talent is D, Goalie, winger, or center I will be prepared for another long season. You only get so many Lundquist in drafting. And lets be honest they have had their fair share and then some. They need to draft to position and weakness. All that I have ever heard is they do the exact opposite, but if vegas shows anyone anything it is to go in with a plan. And to stick to the plan whether it works out right away or not. I mean Vegas was down to a 3rd or 4th string goalie at one point and was still winning.

    Right now this team has 2 know centers and 2 iffy centers. No one in the system at center worth a damn. We have D and Goalies up the whazzooo…with sherkoskin and georgiev, poink, skjei, day, gilmour, etc…mind you lundquist and pavelac…The weakness is so evident. Yet here we are still yappin about drafting defenders. Or trading Zuc or krieder…we need centers and that should be a glaring hole the front office sees and needs to fix asap. Centers can work out even if they cant play center just slide them over to wing if they cant handle the defensive responsibility. It is the most risk reducing draft choice. If a winger can’t make what are you going to do with him? Move him to d? Or make him a goalie? Players are centers on college and minor league teams for a reason …they have the most play making ability and skill. You slide the guys with less talent to the wing. Yes there is always the Ovi’s or the Kucherovs but lets see how many cups either one of them has….oh right 0. Hockey is won and loss in front of the net. And if your centers can’t battle for that ice you already lost the game before it begins.

    • May 31, 2018 at 2:42 pm

      Get me forwards with good hands and lots of speed. Pretty sure we need more of them.

      • May 31, 2018 at 3:44 pm

        To be honest, that’s not a bad draft strategy. Unless you think a D is a 1st pair potential, why bother in the 1st 3 rounds with one?

        The only concern is actually clogging the pipeline if you get it right.

        • May 31, 2018 at 5:10 pm

          That is a problem any franchise would love instead of cloggin the goalie pipeline. We have all seen how valuable a number 1 goalie is and what he can fetch in return. LMAO…..Stupid franchise.

          • Jun 1, 2018 at 10:04 am

            Agreed. Goalie should be an afterthought at best. You need skaters who can score. Goals win games, series, and ultimately, cups.

  • May 31, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    love to trade the 9th in a package for the 2 NYI picks

    • May 31, 2018 at 4:16 pm

      Trades between NYR and NYI have occurred twice in the last 45 years. While Lou Lamoriello never once made a trade with the Rangers during his long career with the Devils. Guess what? They’re not trading anything or anybody to each other.

  • May 31, 2018 at 4:24 pm

    The way I see it is we should only trade up if Zadina or Svechnikov are available at 4, or if Hughes or Wahlstrom are available at 7. Otherwise I’d stay put and draft BPA or Kotkaniemi (who doesn’t want a highly skilled LW/C?).

    I’d like to trade back and get two picks in the middle of the 1st, though. There are a huge number of raw talents there that would be extremely beneficial if we can snag them.

    9) Wahlstrom
    26) Bokk/Denisenko/Kravtsov/Kaut etc.
    29) Lindqvist, unless another of the above is available
    39) Berggren
    48) Fehérváry

    • May 31, 2018 at 11:00 pm

      I agree the only way I would trade up if Zadina or Svechnikov are available at 4. Maybe someone falls in love with Tkachuk in the top 3. It would be costly to do that though might take all 3 first rounders.

  • May 31, 2018 at 4:56 pm

    To be accurate, it’s not a crap shoot after the 1st round, it’s a crap shoot after 20.

    I don’t know if it’s a thing now, but the thing I always wondered about was how deep teams go on draft post mortems and psych testing ex post facto.

    Take that massive experience accumulated and refine your processes.

    • Jun 1, 2018 at 10:07 am

      Hugh Jessiman
      Dylan McIlrath
      Nail Yakupov

      The entire draft is a crapshoot, including the first round.

  • May 31, 2018 at 6:43 pm

    My mock draft for the first 9 picks:

    1) Buff – Dahlin
    2) Car – Svetch
    3) Mtl – Zadina
    4) Ottawa – Tkachuk
    5) Ari – Boqvist
    6) Det – Wahlstrom
    7) Van – Hughes
    8) Chi – Dobson
    9) NYR – Bouchard

    I would trade the late 2 firsts to move into 15-20 if someone is there that they really want.

    • May 31, 2018 at 7:05 pm

      Hey Richter – I’m there with you. Great write up by Dave. I would not trade up unless it’s for Dahlin, I like our picks where we stand and the top 10 will be solid. As I’ve said in the past, it really is a good draft class – even next year’s looks promising.

      • May 31, 2018 at 7:17 pm

        Hey pal.

        I am not crazy at all about using assets to trade up. Legitimately, the Rangers will have one of Dobson, Bouchard, Wahlstrom (if he falls), or even Boqvist (if he falls).

        Worst case, is that Dobson is the last man standing at 9, of the projected top 9. The question is, do you pick him or Veleno or Kotch (can’t spell his name, lol).

        Best case, is that a Veleno or Kotch squeak into the top 8, pushing the other players down. I doubt that Wahlstrom (the guy I want) falls to 9, but trade assets to get to 5 to get him? Vs. picking one of the other top 12 at #9? That’s the question and it depends on what you have to trade to get to #5, because that’s the pick that may be in play.

    • Jun 1, 2018 at 1:12 am

      Yes sir I had the Rangers picking Bouchard right after the draft lottery. He will be their next McDonough anchoring the blueline for the next generation.

      • Jun 1, 2018 at 5:46 am

        I think better than McD my friend.

  • May 31, 2018 at 7:38 pm

    I hope they trade up to get a sure thing, I have less confidence when they draft in later picks and later rounds since NYR drafting record is average at best for the last 5,6 years.

    • May 31, 2018 at 7:56 pm


      Agree, but to be fair, until last year we really didn’t have many picks until the 45th round. That is history, and I believe we won’t see those days any time soon!!!!!!!

      This may sound nuts, but I’d be very reluctant to move up unless it’s for a shot at the 4, 5, or 6th picks…………

  • May 31, 2018 at 8:46 pm

    E3, been a long time, you around? Hope you’re ok pal.

    • Jun 1, 2018 at 1:14 am

      Likely E3 is on the links putting birdies with his pal AV.

      • Jun 1, 2018 at 1:56 am

        Gearing up for his defense of Roseanne.

        • Jun 1, 2018 at 5:48 am

          Bloomer and Reen, hope you’re right.

  • Jun 3, 2018 at 8:17 am

    Trading picks to trade up in the draft for can’t miss prospect could make sense. The big question is what will it cost. With there being some Swedish # 1 defensemen available, I would move a first rounder for a proven commodity. I know a first pick won’t get Karlsson or OEL but I would investigate that. I would OEL because is asking price maybe less.

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